Over three million Ukrainians have fled the war up to this point due to Russia’s full-scale invasion, while the number is expected to increase in the following weeks.
Due to the current situation in Ukraine, European countries, especially Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, have opened their doors welcoming a large number of migrants, TheSchengen.com reports.
In order to help the refugees in Ukraine, the European Commission previously announced that it would activate the Temporary Protection Directive, which aims to help refugees to stay for at least one year in one country and also have access to the labour market and education.
Such a mechanism attempts to provide immediate protection for displaced Ukrainians who cannot return to their home country due to the war.
In addition, the temporary protection directive also offers protection to non-Ukrainian citizens who are ineligible to return to their country of origin.
“Others who are legally present in Ukraine for a short-term and are able to return safely to their country of origin will fall outside the scope of this protection. Nevertheless, they should be allowed access to the EU to transit prior to returning to their countries of origin,” the statement clarified.
As soon as the EU proposed to activate such mechanism, the block’s member states have started to rapidly implement this directive, providing more information for persons who can benefit from this mechanism as well as the conditions and documents they need to have in order to be eligible to be granted residence permits and also have access to the education as well as labour market.
The following countries have provided more specific information regarding the requirements that Ukrainian refugees need to meet so they can benefit from this scheme:
Ukrainian citizens are eligible to apply for the temporary protection status in this country, including those who hold Ukraine-issued international protection status as well as their family members.
Citizens of Ukraine interested in granting such status will likely be required to submit photographic identification documents and proof of legal residence status in Ukraine and proof of residence in this country before February 24, even though the requirements are not yet officially published.
At present, Ukrainian citizens are eligible to apply for temporary protection in France, as well as stateless persons who benefit from protection in Ukraine, together with their family members.
Applicants must be residents in Ukraine before February 24. However, such scope may be extended by authorities in France in the near future.
In order to apply for Temporary Protection in France, applicants must submit photographic identification documents as well as other documents which confirm the civil status as well as detailed information regarding conditions of entry and arrival in France.
Regarding the family members, they must submit proof of the family relationship, such as marriage or birth certificate.
Even though Denmark does not offer such a scheme, it soon plans to introduce a similar status through national legislation.
Authorities in Denmark have introduced the Special Act Status through which citizens of Ukraine, as well as those who hold Ukraine’s refugee status, before February 24.
In order to apply for such a scheme, interested persons are required to schedule an appointment and complete forms online. Then they will be required to apply in person at the Immigration Services Citizens centre without being required to pay for a fee.
The Temporary Protection status is also eligible in Hungary for Ukrainian citizens as well as spouses and minor children in Ukraine before February 24.
Applicants must submit photographic identification documents and proof of residence in Ukraine before February 24.
Upon their arrival, applicants are required to register at the National Directorate General of Aliens Policing (OIF) or at the temporary offices at the border and also file an application for protective status.
Once completing the registration process, persons can file an application for temporary registration officers near the border.
Authorities in Belgium have also introduced the Temporary Protection status, which permits Ukrainian refugees to apply for such a scheme.
All Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine, as well as third-country nationals or stateless persons who enjoy protection in Ukraine together with their family members, are eligible to apply for temporary protection in Belgium.
Ukrainians interested in temporary protection must register to the registration centre in order to submit an application for temporary protection together with identity documents.
In case persons possess the certificate of temporary protection and their residence is located in Brussels, they can head to the Administrative Centre of Brussels, provided they hold the certificate mentioned above, proof of identity, and 10 euros in order to request the registration.
Bulgaria has an agreement on visa-free travel with Ukraine, which permits the latter’s citizens to enter Bulgaria by only presenting a biometric passport and remaining in this Balkan country for up to 90 days.
Due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine on February 24, Ukrainians were automatically eligible to seek protection in Bulgaria.
Citizens of Ukraine fleeing the war are eligible to be granted temporary protection for a period of one year, which can be further extended by two-six-month periods for a minimum of one year.
However, the rules for registering people under such a scheme have not yet been announced; therefore, Ukrainians are advised to wait for detailed information to be published rather than submitting an asylum application in the territorial divisions of the State Agency for Refugees (SAR).
Authorities in Croatia have also provided detailed information regarding the temporary protection directive, which has been activated, following the proposal of the Commission of the European Union. The EU directive permits Ukrainian refugees to stay in Croatia and gain specific benefits without being required to apply for international protection.
In this regard, Croatia’s Directorate of Civil Protection introduced a leaflet that provides detailed information to Ukrainians planning to enter Croatia. The leaflet is available in both Croatian and Ukrainian languages.
Citizens from Ukraine who reach Croatia’s borders are required to present a passport or an ID card. That is all the documentation needed in order to enter Croatia. In this regard, police officers at the borders will give instructions on what to do next.
Ukrainians who meet such requirements must then register with the Croatian Red Cross.
Croatia’s Ministry of Interior is responsible for the reception of Ukrainian refugees who meet the requirements for granting protection as well as for deciding on the requests filed for international protection.
Authorities in Latvia have also announced that the temporary protection status is eligible to citizens from Ukraine as well as third-country citizen residents in Ukraine who are ineligible to return to their home countries, including spouses, as well as minor children resident in Ukraine on or before February 24.
Once reaching the Baltic country, applicants are required to apply in-person at the country’s Latvia Migration Authority; however, formal processes have not been published yet. Authorities in Latvia have announced that the processing times are not yet confirmed; however, approval is expected to happen immediately.
Malta’s government has yet not implemented the EU Temporary Protection mechanism; however, detailed information in this regard will soon be provided, according to the country’s authorities.
Ukrainians who arrived in the Czech Republic on or after February 24 are eligible to apply for a long-term visa at the special contact points for refugees from Ukraine.
Authorities in the Czech Republic have clarified that Ukrainians residing in this country before February 24, within the visa-free scheme or on the Schengen visa, which will expire in two weeks, are required to apply for the special long-term visa at the regional office of the Asylum and Migration Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior.
In order to apply for the special long-term visa, applicants must prepare the following documents:
A valid passport
Finland also offers temporary protection to citizens from Ukraine. In order to benefit from this status, applicants applying for temporary protection should be submitted to the police or a border control authority.
Ukrainian citizens who plan to apply for temporary protection can also fill out an application for international protection. If they have been granted temporary protection, the processing of asylum applications is suspended for as long as the residence permit they have been issued based on the temporary protection is valid.
In order to benefit from the temporary protection, Ukrainians must meet the following requirements:
They have been residing in Ukraine before February 24
They are nationals of a third country or stateless persons who have benefited from international protection in Ukraine
“Temporary protection may also be extended to other people who were legally residing in Ukraine who cannot safely return to their country of origin, including nationals from non-EU countries or stateless persons. People who can safely return to their country of origin will be assisted to do so,” the statement published by Ireland’s government reads.
Following the example of other European Union countries, authorities in the Netherlands also have made the temporary protection directive eligible.
Ukrainians who meet the requirements introduced by authorities in the Netherlands can enjoy the following benefits:
Live in the Netherlands
Access to healthcare services
Be permitted to work or study
“Ukrainians with a biometric passport can stay in the Netherlands for 90 days during the visa-exempt term. Then you are allowed to stay in the Netherlands. You do not have to apply for asylum. You also do not have to extend your visa-exempt term or short-stay visa. There are no consequences if you stay longer in the Netherlands. You can also get a sleeping place in one of the reception centres of the municipalities,” authorities in the Netherlands have clarified in this regard.
Norway’s government has also introduced the scheme to offer temporary protection for a period of one year to Ukrainian citizens.
“This scheme primarily covers Ukrainian citizens who were resident in Ukraine until the war broke out. Applicants must provide proof of their identity and nationality, primarily by presenting a Ukrainian passport or ID card,” the statement reads.
Authorities in Poland have also implemented new immigration measures for citizens of Ukraine fleeing their country because of the Russian invasion.
Following the law, citizens of Ukraine who left the country due to the war are allowed to remain in Poland until August 24, 2023, the country’s authorities have confirmed. Non-Ukrainian spouses of Ukrainian citizens who reached Poland from Ukraine on or after February 24 can also benefit from such a rule.
However, authorities in Poland have clarified that Ukrainians who remain in Poland are eligible to cross the Poland-Ukraine border during this time, but they must not leave the country for one month in order to maintain the right to stay in this country.
Authorities in Portugal have also announced that citizens of Ukraine are able to request for temporary protection in Portugal.
Portugal’s Immigration and Border Service (SEF) has recently announced that it is launching an online platform in different languages for temporary protection from Ukrainian residents.
“The SEFforUkraine.sef.pt platform enables all Ukrainian citizens and their households, as well as any foreign citizen living in Ukraine, to make an online request for temporary protection of one year, extendable for two periods of six months,” SEF pointed out in a press release.
Authorities in Romania have announced that they will implement legal provisions in order to facilitate procedures for refugees from Ukraine.
In this regard, Romania’s government has already started drawing up draft laws related to the measures in order to provide protection as well as special assistance for Ukrainians.
In addition, authorities in Ukraine have announced that those who wish to work in Romania and who do not hold a work permit must conclude a full-time employment contract with a Romanian company for a period of at least nine months.
Spain’s government announced that it launched the Temporary Protection mechanism on March 10, permitting displaced persons from Ukraine to apply and have easy temporary protection and have all the rights and permits of residence and work.
In this regard, authorities in Spain have announced that two ministerial orders have been approved, increasing the temporary protection and implementing the procedure for recognition of temporary protection for persons who have been affected by the war in Ukraine.
According to Spanish authorities, Ukrainian citizens who hold a biometric passport are not required to obtain a visa in order to reach Spain or Schengen Zone countries.
Applicants who do not hold a biometric passport or travel document are required to go to a consular post in a bordering country to Ukraine in order to have their situation reviewed, as reported by Fragomen.com.
Citizens of Ukraine who plan to apply for temporary protection are able to use a birth certificate or other valid document which proves they have been in Ukraine on or before February 24. Minors are eligible to use their birth certificates or a certificate that proves the family link or relationship with the persons who take care of the minor.
Authorities in Sweden have also introduced the Temporary protection scheme, permitting citizens to apply for such a scheme.
“Ukrainian citizens with national biometric passports or Schengen visas can stay in Sweden for 90 days and do not need to contact the Swedish Migration Agency following entry as long as the 90 days have not passed,” the statement reads.
In order to benefit from the mechanism, applicants are required to submit photographic identification documents and present proof which shows their legal residence in Ukraine before February 24.
Authorities in Slovenia previously announced that from March 14, citizens of Ukraine together with their families are permitted to file an application for protection in Slovakia, which can be completed electronically through online services of the Ministry of Interior.
Such a decision was confirmed through a statement published by the European Union Commission which said the online portal is available in Slovak, Ukrainian, and English.
“Although an in-person appointment with Slovakia’s Border and Foreigner Police will still be necessary to finalise a person’s temporary protection status, being able to complete the online data form in advance will significantly speed up the entire application process,” the statement notes.
Recently the Commission of the European Union introduced operational guidelines of the directive in order to support the European Union Member States applying the mechanism.
Based on a press release published by the EU Commission, Ukrainian nationals will be eligible to move freely to the EU countries by using a 15-day visa obtained at the border, and secondary EU Member States do not impose financial penalties on carriers who are transporting persons who benefit from the temporary protection mechanism.